A short message on "Rightly Dividing the Word"
In one of my morning meditations, I opened up to Jeremiah chapter 15, and was again struck with the similarity between the times of Jeremiah and today.
Jeremiah was living at a time of judgment - Jeremiah was living at a time when there was great compromise among his fellow ministers; and in fact, that was the reason judgment was coming.
Jeremiah was very isolated… He was sitting alone because of the truth that separated him. The word of God separates people (John 17:17).
Jeremiah 15:16, 17, "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand: for thou hast filled me with indignation."
*Here is a case where the words were sweet to the taste, but then became bitter (Ezk. 3:3, Rev 10:9).
Jeremiah’s message was not too popular, and it almost seems that Jeremiah was in a state of vacillation, or a hesitancy to speak forth what God was saying. You almost have the idea that Jeremiah was feeling that God was letting him down… Or that he was standing alone.
Jeremiah 15:18, "Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail?"
This is what John Bunyan describes as the Slough of Despond. Can you get the picture here? Jeremiah was being reproached for the true message. Now the Lord responds:
Jeremiah 15:19, "Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them."
The reproach of Jeremiah’s message had caused him to back away; but then the Lord encourages him to be bold. God wanted a clear message to resonate from his lips; and then God promises in verse 20, that He will be with him to deliver him.
“…If you will separate the precious from the vile…” God wants his ministers to make a distinction between the holy and the profane. Many of today’s ministers would never address the sins that their people are guilty of because they would no longer be popular, nor would they have a mega church.
If you will uphold my standard… if you will draw a distinction between the left and the right, then you will be my spokesman and you will stand before me… As we shall see, it is a privilege to stand in the Lord’s presence. The other ministers are to be denied this privilege.
People like Jeremiah, are destined for a martyr’s crown! Back in church history (ninth century), there was a man by the name of Anskar, who was later dubbed the apostle to the north. This Anskar, evangelized the Scandinavian countries, and he suffered much abuse and mistreatment from the pagans…some of them burned his buildings, etc. etc.
After years of missionary endeavors, he comes to the end of his life, and he is disappointed that he has not fulfilled the vision… When he was young, he had a vision of winning the martyr’s crown.
However, he was never physically martyred, so he thought that he had really missed it; and yet the Scripture has something to say about this – quoting Paul:
“As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter” (Rom. 8:36).
*Anskar was a martyr while he lived… He was a living martyr, and I’m sure the martyr’s crown awaits him!
The Lord goes on to speak to Jeremiah 15:20, "And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brasen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the LORD."
*They shall fight against you, but not prevail!
I think this helps us to understand a few things… For one, this does not mean that Jeremiah is not going to face opposition. In fact, they’re going to throw Jeremiah into a dungeon and into a pit. That still does not mean that God has forsaken him, nor does it mean that He will not deliver him.
So, what were the other contemporary preachers of Jeremiah’s day preaching? – I am sure that some of what they were saying was true. However, the real problem was what they were not saying. They were ministering to the people who were idolaters and adulterers.
Did they address the problem? Did they address the idolatry, and the lewdness of the day? No! They simply overlooked what was going on, and never addressed any of the issues, or any of the prevalent sins of the congregation.
Ezekiel, (who was also contemporary with Jeremiah) said this concerning the compromising ministers of their day: They have caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity. Why? – Because they never defined or condemned iniquity.
Consequently, their congregations were full of sin, and the whole nation was on the brink of judgment… The nation actually fell because of ministers that were derelict in their duties.
Ezekiel 44:10, 11, "And the Levites that are gone away far from me, when Israel went astray, which went astray away from me after their idols; they shall even bear their iniquity. Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having charge at the gates of the house, and ministering to the house: they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister unto them."
They shall keep their ministries--There compromise would forever limit them to the outer court. They would take care of the menial duties, and minister to the needs of the house, but they would never enter into the presence of the Lord!
Ezekiel 44:12-14, "Because they ministered unto them before their idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity; therefore have I lifted up mine hand against them, saith the Lord GOD, and they shall bear their iniquity. And they shall not come near unto me, to do the office of a priest unto me, nor to come near to any of my holy things, in the most holy place: but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed. But I will make them keepers of the charge of the house, for all the service thereof, and for all that shall be done therein."
*There you have it. They shall never approach to me. They shall never partake of the holy things, or know intimate communion or revelation.
The Lord goes on to say in Ezekiel 44, that the priests that did uphold God’s standard, (the sons of Zadok), would enter in to the holiest place and ministering to the Lord Himself.
The charge that was given at the inauguration of the priesthood was that God’s ministers were to teach God’s people the difference!
Lev 10:10, 11, "And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses." This charge is not just to the Old Testament ministers. Jesus Himself gave this to charge to His disciples at His departure. They were to teach all nations whatsoever He had commanded. (Remember, the New Testament standard is higher!)
Paul told Timothy to rightly divide the word… balance, balance, balance… study, study, study. 2 Timothy 2:15, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
Do you see the danger of a lopsided message? Today’s feel-good message is the spirit of antichrist. The antichrist is called a flatterer. He makes people feel good! He disarms people! He tells them that God loves them no matter what. He tells them that once they have accepted salvation, they never have to repent again.
As the apostle Paul said, Satan’s ministers appear as ministers of righteousness. However, their message is distorted because they never warn of the consequences of sin. Anything that distorts the truth is distortion. Even a truth can distort the truth if it is not balanced. We are specifically addressing eternal things … anything that makes a lie.
*We are talking about those who purposely contrive and love lies!
Revelation 22:15, "For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie."
In conclusion: Today’s news media does everything to promote their view. They picture one side rioting and demonstrating for a cause… However they do not view the side that standing against the cause, or for the right.In his book: The Naked Communist, Skousen was showing how that only 5% of Russia was for the Bolshevik Revolution. How did they gain control? The Bolsheviks controlled the press, and had everyone believing that the majority was for the movement. The Mensheviks (the majority) were not for the movement.
In the end, God will honor those who honor him!
A message spoken in March of 2016
We have been, and are being reduced in size - the stripping process is not what you call a joyful experience, but we know God is with us! We know we have a promise! And we also have an understanding of the divine process, at least in part!
Jesus said that every branch that bears fruit is pruned, cut back, so that it might bear more fruit (John 15:2b). There has been good fruit produced here. God has used some of that fruit to reproduce in other places. Being transplanted is not what you call pruning; some have been transplanted, some are yet to be transplanted in the Lord's service!
If you happen to take a look at the birthday list, you will notice quite a few that are no longer with us - upwards of 20 have disconnected. But there is always a cutting before enlargement. God is also providentially shuffling things into place. Even our pastor Dan Oakes is being relocated.
Now, I would like to have the little Tabernacle sketch projected; and were going to look at this from a different perspective.
We are going to consider the numerical significance of the floor space - they reveal spiritual positions in the kingdom.
There are basically three divisions in the tabernacle, which can point to a number of types; but for all the intents and purposes of the study, we are considering three categories of believers:
Isaiah 2:3, "And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem."
Zion upholds the law, the word from Jerusalem. The law is above the word; many churches preach the word, but do not uphold God's law or standard. (Zion is actually a higher elevation within the city.)
Okay, let's consider some of the dimensions on the sketch: the outer court is 50 x 100, which makes the surface area 5000 square.
Let's look at Mark 6 to see the implications; here we will see the feeding of the 5000. Mark 6:40, 44: "And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties...And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men." When you consider the multitudes that followed Christ, it was basically for the outer court message: the bread and fishes and healing and the miracles.
John 6:2, "And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased." Great multitudes were following because...? It was for the temporal things, for the spectacular. Notice in the same chapter in verse 26: "Jesus answered them and said, verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled." Again, following or seeking for the temporal things; as Jesus goes on to say: seek not the temporal, but the eternal. And that is noted in verse 27: "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed." If you follow the crowds today, they will take you into the arena where the emphasis is all on the temporal - turn to Jesus and be blessed! The emphasis is on getting the better job; the better home; materialistic blessing, wellness... It's all about the betterment that relates to this life!
Now there is nothing wrong with that except that there is no emphasis on the life of Christ: imitating Christ, or on morality or purity or sanctity of marriage, or purity of music etc. It's all about being excited! Feeling good!
Let's go back to our sketch and look at the next dimension: we are looking at the holy place - the surface measure is 200 square.
Wow! That is quite reduced in size. The ratio to the outer court would be 25 to 1. For every 25 in the outer court, there would be one in the holy place. So what is the truth of this numeric (200)? There must be some merit or benefit to be in this place; well, yes there is a deeper worship there - the incense altar sits before the veil. There is the candlestick, which speaks of the Seven-Spirit anointing.
There is also the table of showbread, with the 12 cakes - this speaks of the word becoming flesh. There has been an overcoming; you're strong in the Lord...
The number 200 is interpreted for us in the Song of Solomon 8:12, "My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred." The keeper here is kind of a sharecropper. The vineyard is the Lord's, and the faithful keepers - those who keep or guard the fruit thereof get a share.
Solomon or Christ gets 1000, the keeper gets 200 - In other words, 20% of the profit. The number 200 means reward of the faithful servant. You also have the thought of the 200 that stayed with the stuff, in First Samuel 30:21 - 25. They shared equally with those that went out.
Now coming into the New Testament, the only logical place to connect this is found in John 21:8, "And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes." Here are the faithful disciples after the resurrection: this catch of fish is recorded as being 200 cubits from land. The net was packed, it did not break, and they were not ordinary fish; but they were all whoppers.
In verse 11, the number of fish is recorded, 153. 153 is the number of Zion. These are the kinds of fish (spiritually) we would all like to catch. John 21:11, "Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken." To the faithful, God will give the kind of fruit that produces 100 fold. Which brings us to our next dimension: looking at the sketchâ€¦
The holy of holies is 100 square. Wow, that is a ratio of 50 to 1. For every 50 in the outer court, one is in the holiest place. These uphold the law â€“ God standard; these have the law written upon their heart. The group that advances to the third position has crucified the flesh and they will be one hundredfold Christians. Let us look at Matthew 19:27 â€“ 29: Mat 19:27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? Mat 19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Continued Mat 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. Zion equates with the holy of holies because the unveiled ark containing the law sat upon Mount Zion. This third abiding place is for the pure â€“ as Psalm 24 attests: The pure The innocent The guileless For those free from covetousness â€“ idolatry: Psa 24:3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? Psa 24:4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. How many mega-churches preach on purity and holiness? Or, how many try to turn people from their covetousness! I think in some cases they promote covetousness â€“ the quest for material things. However, the point that Iâ€™m leading up to, is the number of disciples that actually remained at the conclusion of Jesus ministry. Multitudes followed Jesus in his outer court ministry, however, when he came to the crux of his message, and to the very issue that determines their eternal place â€“ we are looking at 11 remaining men!
Let us return to John chapter 6: When Jesus spoke of eating his flesh and drinking his blood he was relating a spiritual truth: Eating his flesh relates to his word â€“ the word was made flesh. When Jesus spoke of drinking his blood, the blood speaks of the life; in other words, to identify with his life and death. John 6:66-68, "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Notice how the crowd dissipates. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." Do you get the point? The mega-church flourishes for a while on the blessing and feel good message; but in the end, it was the few in the upper room that turned the world upside down or shall we say the world right side up!
Isaiah said: a little one shall become 1000: In Isaiah 60:21 â€“ 22: "Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time." People can compromise for numbers. Ministers compromise Godâ€™s standard for numbers. King Rehoboam forsook of the law, and when he did, God allowed the enemy to come in and remove all the gold in the Temple. King Rehoboam replaced the gold with brass. Brass is an outer court metal, gold is holy of holies! (2 Chr. 12) Let us be encouraged â€“ let us not be as Rehoboam who compromised the law, who compromised the divine nature, and received judgment rather than true blessing. By the way, brass speaks of judgment!
God bless you!